NEW YORK, United States — Pangaia, the sustainable apparel brand whose brightly coloured loungewear has swept social media and generated millions of dollars of revenue, is launching a new range of activewear made from plants.
Building on current industry norms that tend to revolve around the use of recycled synthetic fibres and conventional elastane — which despite being an improvement to traditional methods, eventually release microplastics as people wear and wash them — Pangaia wants to create a future of activewear that is renewable, biobased, and more circular.
Pangaia Gym is the brand’s first step towards this vision. Each of the garments within the collection — leggings, cycling shorts, T-shirts and sports bras — are predominantly made from renewable resources with the end product being 90% or more biobased.
By blending fibres and treatments, including a nylon fibre made from renewable castor oil, a seaweed fibre made from biodegradable eucalyptus lyocell with embedded seaweed particles, a stretch yarn that can be degraded by microorganisms into non-ecotoxic components in an oxygen-rich environment, and more, the brand argues it has been able to create a “breakthrough” moment for the industry.
“Sometimes a brand will say they use this bio-based fabric, but the wicking treatment is incredibly toxic. We had to be super meticulous and work across different mills and fabrics and treatments to make this work in the most responsible way,” Dr. Amanda J. Parkes, Pangaia’s chief innovation officer, told Vogue.
And, the fast-growing startup isn’t holding back on its findings. In what is fast becoming a common approach for sustainable innovators, all of its materials and technology are available for other brands to purchase. This it hopes, will enable the industry to evolve collectively.
The launch of Pangaia’s athleisure line comes off the back of a momentous year for the young brand, which found itself one of the pandemic’s winners. Its first product category — a collection of wardrobe essentials, ranging from $150 – $900 was the result of several years of research on circular practices by the brand’s collective of scientists, technologists, artists and designers.
However, its hoodies and track pants, released in early 2019, took on a life of their own after loungewear became the uniform of the pandemic. So much so, that according to Business Of Fashion, it generated $75 million in revenue in 2020 while remaining profitable. The company has also grown from 10 employees to 125 in the last year.
Despite its success, the brand is yet to replicate the success of its sweatpants. Its expansion into athleisure could be the sweet spot it is looking for, to establish itself beyond a ‘moment’.
The global athleisure market is expected to top $250 billion by 2026, according to Allied Market Research, with the category’s big players continuing to see positive growth.
Earlier this month, Lululemon revealed its Q1 revenue had surged 88% to $1.2 billion, from $652 million a year earlier, with net income growing to $145 million, from $28.6 million the previous year.
Elsewhere, Athleta announced its expansion into Canada having surpassed one billion dollars in net sales with 16% annual sales growth in 2020. And Target’s athleisure line ‘All In Motion’ also raced past $1 billion in sales.
With the industry continuing to move towards sustainability as a key selling point, Pangaia is already in an advantageous position to establish itself as one of the thought leaders in the space — connecting with consumers through both purpose and design.